Rock & Folk interview

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Legless Owl
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Rock & Folk interview

Post by Legless Owl » 01 May 2015, 14:22

Dunno if it's already been discussed (sorry if it has) but I've just read the couple of pages about Blur in Rock & Folk's last issue (that's a French music magazine) and God, that journalist certainly didn't go soft on Damon saying stuff like "Please excuse my outspokenness but your solo album Everyday robots was musically poor. Don't you like orchestration and harmony?" or when Damon says that he really doesn't want to reenlist with Blur for 25 more years because he wants to record the new Gorillaz album, "Sorry but we've never really appreciated the value of that band. What's the concept behind Gorillaz? Just collaborating with other people?" :? Well, at least he's not an arse-licker :lol:

Anyway, call me biased but I'm quite excited at the idea that Damon really wants to record a French version of There are too many of us, even asking the interviewer how the title would translate in French and saying how much he loves French music and how it has really influenced his new musical.

Oh, and I didn't know he was supposed to go on holidays in India lately but had to stay in Hampshire due to passport problems. Oh well.

And the journalist describing Go out as an "ode to female masturbation" :mrgreen: (not that I disagree, but I wasn't expecting that at the beginning of the article!)


:!: EDIT: TRANSLATION

I haven't had the time to translate the two pages article but I've translated Damon's interview. Here you are! (sorry if my English sucks). Like I said this is quite a weird interview... :roll:


What’s your side of the story ?
When my solo album ‘Everyday robots’ was released, a lot of concerts promoters solicited us and that’s how we found ourselves in Djakarta and Hong-Kong where we had never played before. We started with a couple of ideas I had on my laptop and and we ended up with 20 minute improvisations. I was really happy that Graham decided to give them a second listen eighteen months later and suggested to make a record out of them with the help of Stephen Street. When I heard the result of their work, I was really excited as I could hardly recall what we had recorded. It was like listening to someone else’s album, with an objective ear. On the one hand, I was like ‘Fuck, where are we going with all this?’ because I am currently writing a new musical coproduced by the théâtre du Châtelet, an internet era variation of Alice in Wonderland. On the other hand, what I was listening to was terribly exciting.


You said at Mode’s gig that that new record had really been influenced by the city of Hong-Kong, which means…..
I had already explored Chinese music with ‘Monkey, Journey to the West’ which was presented at Châtelet, and I think I understand Chinese music a little better now. I love its melancholy, just like I love the melancholy of Korean popular music which, strangely enough, shares some similarities with 19th century European romantic music.


Your vocal performance in ‘Pyongyang’ was really touching…
I’m not a very confident vocalist and I’m at the limits of my vocal range in that song, but Stephen Street insisted that I sang my heart out. That song alludes to my visit of the mausoleum that overlooks the city. I tried to imagine the day North Korea finally comes out its isolation, in a non-violent way, I hope.


That song, despite its tragic subject, is incredibly romantic, in the same way that ‘There are too many of us’ is deeply human despite its serious theme…
I’d really love to sing it in French. You know, just like we recorded ‘To the end’ in French with Françoise Hardy.


You had invited us to that recording in London, and it had been particularly laborious…
How would you translate that? Il y a trop de nous? [I love how he completely ignores that comment! :lol: ]



No, that’s clumsy and that wouldn’t stick to the level of prosody. You should sing ‘Nous sommes trop nombreux…’
Ah, I really love French song! Actually, my new musical has been deeply influenced by French song.


Really? Who are your favourite singers then?
Edith Piaf, of course, but I also love Jacques Brel.


You do know he is Belgian, don’t you? [Oh God :lol: ] What about Léo Ferré? Do you know about him?

Not at all.


You should listen to ‘La solitude’, ‘Avec le temps’ or ‘On s’aimera’. He was an anarchist who mixed classical musical culture and symbolist poetry. He wanted to work with Hendrix and yet he had recorded in New-York with John Mclaughlin, Billy Cobham and Miroslav Vitous from Weather Report… Talking about dead singers [Léo Ferré died in 1993 and in French, “chanteurs disparus” means “dead singers” but “disparu” also means “missing”, “vanished”…], did you think Blur would last 25 years?
Oh no. Certainly not.


That longevity takes you away from the Beatles and brings you closer to the Rolling Stones. Are you pleased about that?
No, that horrifies me.


Why do you say that? A lot of people would be proud to be compared to the Rolling Stones…
If you say so…


Talking about that, you should take inspiration from Mick Jagger’s stage performances and dance a little bit more… [WTF?!]
I am not that extrovert… but I’m going to train, I promise!


Considering you’ve also made a name for yourself with Gorillaz, your opera projects and your solo album, do you find it humiliating or maybe regressive to get back to Blur?
No, I wouldn’t put it that way, it’s just that within Blur, I’m just the singer…


What? You compose, write lyrics, play guitar and keyboards either in studio or live, and you even throw water on the audience in the front rows…
Oh, I find that funny, that’s just like children having fun spraying each other when summer comes…


What about ‘My terracotta heart’? We do hope it’s not a disguised advert for Guerlain… [There is a Guerlain perfume called Terracotta and some make-up products]
No! This is a way to evoke my fragile heart…


That was a joke… But we are quite surprised to know you have a heart made of terracotta that can break easily…
Isn’t yours just the same? Well, let’s say I’m trying to revitalise the vocabulary to write the one hundred thousandth love song of history… [and then, in other interviews, he says that people mistakes that song about his relationship with Graham for a love song… :roll: :D ]


Is ‘I broadcast’ a criticism of Facebook civilisation, of those people who feel obliged to let us know whenever they go pee?
Not even that, because with smartphones and geolocation, everyone knows where you are and what you are doing anyway…


Excuse our outspokenness, but your solo album ‘Everyday robots’ is musically really poor. [Just imagine Damon's face at that point :lol: ] Don’t you like orchestration and harmony?
That is a very simple album, indeed. I’d produced Bobby Womack’s album just before. I was on piano, and as a result I decided to stay on piano for my own album…


Oh, so you tried to redo Lennon’s first album…
That would have been a dream to get anywhere near that…


Is he your hero? If so, why?
He’s such an emotional singer and his melodies are so powerful, not to mention his lyrics which are extremely pertinent… My other hero is David Bowie, so amazing during many years. He inspired me a lot and I often think of him while singing on stage…


You and Thom Yorke are the only two artists to come close to Bowie these days, that poetry of dereliction, that lyricism a little bit ‘unheimlich’ [in German in the text, I think that means ‘eerie’ or something like that], both familiar and threatening… But don’t you have other heroes?
Yes, of course. I love working with Tony Allen. Bobby Womack has also really inspired me and among the youngsters, I really like Kendrick Lamar.


His first album was excellent and ‘Drank’ was most probably the best rap song of the last decade… What do you think of his new album?
Oh, I love it… He’s a fantastic guy, original, intelligent… I like what he says about the condition of black people in the America of 2015.


What makes it different from the America of Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder?

There is less beauty in today’s music, but more honesty.

Less beauty? That’s an understatement! Don’t you think the best rapper of history remains a minnow regarding music if you compare him to Stevie Wonder?
Yes, I can’t see who could compete against Stevie Wonder. We all feel pathetic in comparison with such a giant. Only Prince comes close to him…

As you say, he only ‘comes close’… because he hasn’t composed anything as tremendous as ‘Overjoyed’… Anyway, you come close to David Bowie, that’s not bad…[ :lol: ] By the way, when we tell you Blur’s new album is beautiful, doesn’t that make you feel like reenlisting for 25 more years?
Absolutely not.


Why?
I want to record Gorillaz’s new album.


Sorry but we never quite appreciated the value of this band… [First 'Everyday Robots' and now Gorillaz, poor Damon! :mrgreen: ]
Neither did I… [There I don’t even understand the French sentence ‘le prochain fera sans doute plus sens…’, it doesn’t make any sense, unless ‘sens’ would stand for ‘sensation’, in that case it would be: ] but wait and see, the next album is probably going to cause a sensation…


What is the concept behind Gorillaz? Collaborating with people?
Yes, working with older musicians like Ike Turner, Bobby Womack and Dennis Hopper, renew the perspective… Admittedly, when I see Paul McCartney collaborating with Kanye West, I tell myself that my innovative ideas have now fallen into public domain…


After Morocco and Africa [it makes it sound like Morocco isn't part of Africa. Oh well :roll: ] exuding from ‘Think Tank’ and South-East Asia influencing ‘Magic Whip’, we wonder what to expect from the next opus…
India. That’s my dream. [Note that he doesn’t reject the idea of another album, hehe] Would you believe that I was supposed to go there at the end of the week but due to a stupid passport problem, I ended up spending my holidays in England, stuck in Hampshire. And that’s how you move from sublime to ridiculous.


Well, there is a certain greatness in the English countryside…
It is true that I love my seafront house in Cornwall but I’m currently having some work done there… Maybe that’s the last way to be radical, refusing tourism, spending holidays in your own country…


It’s only postponed, not cancelled…
Yes. I’d like to explore Russia and Central Asia too. I still have so many things to discover, I hope I’ll have enough time to.
Last edited by Legless Owl on 02 May 2015, 01:02, edited 3 times in total.
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elasticaman
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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by elasticaman » 01 May 2015, 14:45

sounds like a fantastic interview, and ballsy too

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Sledge Hammer
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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by Sledge Hammer » 01 May 2015, 15:09

He's not wrong, Gorillaz is going to irritate me more than ever as he rushes to get Blur out of the way yet again...and Everyday Robots was very poor...
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elasticaman
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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by elasticaman » 01 May 2015, 15:19

Sledge Hammer wrote:He's not wrong, Gorillaz is going to irritate me more than ever as he rushes to get Blur out of the way yet again...and Everyday Robots was very poor...

anyone else feel like damons comendable work eithic, and rate of musical output has reduced his overall quality? or is that something that has come with age??

every day robots is an awful album, unlistenable at times, and yet, after hearing the live recordings some of those songs are really great, Photographs and Heavy Seas namely

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Sledge Hammer
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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by Sledge Hammer » 01 May 2015, 15:26

elasticaman wrote:
Sledge Hammer wrote:He's not wrong, Gorillaz is going to irritate me more than ever as he rushes to get Blur out of the way yet again...and Everyday Robots was very poor...

anyone else feel like damons comendable work eithic, and rate of musical output has reduced his overall quality? or is that something that has come with age??

every day robots is an awful album, unlistenable at times, and yet, after hearing the live recordings some of those songs are really great, Photographs and Heavy Seas namely
Yeah he's crazy busy just look at all the stuff he's fitting in to his schedule in July, I just wish he would concentrate on Blur but we all know that's not going to happen...and yeah I don't just blindly praise his stuff, plenty of cool Gorillaz material but it pales next to Blur, but the solo album, most of it was awful imo, New World Towers saved by Graham's guitar which get's too near to Everyday Robots for comfort...
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jordanmoore
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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by jordanmoore » 01 May 2015, 15:30

Aww man I love Everyday Robots - I got lost in that record, I really embraced it at the time (perhaps because I was longing for more Blur).

I do love Damon's work ethic, I think his songwriting has grown with age. There were strong themes throughout Everyday Robots, lots of soul-searching - overall it was a dark, dark record but it made the highs (the climax of You & Me) absolutely beautiful. He doesn't get enough recognition from the music press as being one of the best songwriters of our generation - for some reason they frequently namecheck Noel Gallagher - don't get me wrong, I love Oasis too but Damon's songwriting is far superior.

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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by Sean » 01 May 2015, 15:52

Damon could do with some time off I think. Just to take stock, reflect, have a break and re-charge his batteries. Not that he's churning out shit - he's not - but he's made some dubious decisions that have backfired. Some of the songs on Everyday Robots are lovely. Some of them. A few are total shit. But even the lovely ones are ruined by that awful production. I saw him play it live and it was a totally different beast, the songs came alive with the warmer arrangements.

Anyway, re the interview - it takes balls to talk to Damon like that. :lol: Is there anywhere we can see or hear this? :lol:
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He's So High
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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by He's So High » 01 May 2015, 15:54

I really liked the solo album as well, although you have got to be in the right mood for it. Like a few others on here it really came alive after I saw him perform it live.

That being said, I agree with Sean that he could do with some time off!

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jordanmoore
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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by jordanmoore » 01 May 2015, 15:58

He's So High wrote:I really liked the solo album as well, although you have got to be in the right mood for it. Like a few others on here it really came alive after I saw him perform it live.
Hostiles live in particular is jaw-droppingly good.

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Legless Owl
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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by Legless Owl » 01 May 2015, 16:03

Sean: I can translate it though it's a kinda weird interview imo, and the journalist is quite caustic now and then. I'll try to do it today or tomorrow if you are interested.
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dunkaroo02
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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by dunkaroo02 » 01 May 2015, 16:11

Sledge Hammer wrote:
elasticaman wrote:
Sledge Hammer wrote:He's not wrong, Gorillaz is going to irritate me more than ever as he rushes to get Blur out of the way yet again...and Everyday Robots was very poor...

anyone else feel like damons comendable work eithic, and rate of musical output has reduced his overall quality? or is that something that has come with age??

every day robots is an awful album, unlistenable at times, and yet, after hearing the live recordings some of those songs are really great, Photographs and Heavy Seas namely
Yeah he's crazy busy just look at all the stuff he's fitting in to his schedule in July, I just wish he would concentrate on Blur but we all know that's not going to happen...and yeah I don't just blindly praise his stuff, plenty of cool Gorillaz material but it pales next to Blur, but the solo album, most of it was awful imo, New World Towers saved by Graham's guitar which get's too near to Everyday Robots for comfort...
ya know I was thinking lately, before Magic Whip he hadn't really put out anything good since Plastic Beach in 2010. That's half a decade! The Fall was meh, Rocket Juice and the Moon was forgettable, solo album was mediocre...he was quietly in kind of a slump.

Maybe Damon really does need to make music with someone like Graham to balance out his worst tendencies...even though he'd never admit that in a million years.

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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by Sean » 01 May 2015, 16:19

Legless Owl wrote:Sean: I can translate it though it's a kinda weird interview imo, and the journalist is quite caustic now and then. I'll try to do it today or tomorrow if you are interested.
Thanks you - I'm very interested but don't go out of your way to do it as I realise it is a hassle.
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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by munch » 01 May 2015, 16:32

jordanmoore wrote:
He's So High wrote:I really liked the solo album as well, although you have got to be in the right mood for it. Like a few others on here it really came alive after I saw him perform it live.
Hostiles live in particular is jaw-droppingly good.
yeah i heard that months later and thought it was a different song. It was astonishing.

It's ok guys, Graham and Stephen came to save the day with something that sounds good both live and on stereo <3

My thoughts on everyday robots are...... i only really loved Lonely Press Play and Selfish Giant. Um.. Mr Tembo, Everyday Robots and Heavy Seas were all good and the rest were BLEHHHHFHHHH
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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by Rubi » 01 May 2015, 17:03

In all honesty, I don't really care much about Damon's side projects. I'm a huge Gorillaz fan and love all their albums, even though The Fall was meh, and GBQ was pretty good albeit it could have used better production. His other stuff, though, like Monkey, Dr. Dee, Africa Express, Wonder.land etc. I couldn't care less about. Rocket Juice and the Moon was another weak record, and Everyday Robots was average at best.

I agree that his last great record was Plastic Beach in 2010, which remains my favorite Gorillaz album, but he's redeemed himself this year with The Magic Whip, which is fucking awesome! :mrgreen:

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Re: Rock & Folk interview

Post by Legless Owl » 02 May 2015, 01:00

I haven't had the time to translate the two pages article but I've translated Damon's interview (I've edited my first post, have a look :) )

I thought that Italian presenter had won the title of "Most awkward question" with him asking if the Magic Whip was a kind of tribute to Alex's love for cheese, but that journalist is a challenger I think :lol:

Would have loved to see Damon's face throughout the interview... :mrgreen:
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